SEOUL, South Korea ( Associated Press) — The South Korean military confirmed it tested a solid-propellant rocket Friday, its unannounced launch followed by an alleged UFO sighting of a North Korean missile or a brief public outcry over the rocket launch. Went.
The Defense Ministry said in a statement that the rocket launch was part of efforts to develop surveillance capabilities from space and strengthen its defense preparedness.
He stated that the reason they did not inform the general public in advance about the launch was because of military security issues involved.
A coil of white to reddish vapor was seen behind a bright white light in parts of the sky over South Korea on Friday afternoon. South Korean social media and Internet sites were flooded with messages from citizens who reported seeing a flying object, a rainbow-colored vapor trail, or other mysterious lights. Some posted pictures and videos.
“What is this? Is it a UFO? I’m scared,” posted one Twitter user. Another said he suspected it was a North Korean missile launch and worried about a war. Others suspected it was a drone light show or a supernatural phenomenon.
According to local media, South Korean emergency officials and police received hundreds of reports from various parts of the country from citizens who saw a suspicious flying object and mysterious lights.
The South Korean rocket launch came four days after South Korea on Monday accused North Korea of sending five flying drones across the border for the first time in five years. The South Korean military detected the drones but failed to shoot them down, raising concerns for its air defense network. The army later apologized for this.
South Korean officials have said they plan to use a solid-fueled rocket to launch the country’s first spy satellite into orbit. In March, South Korea conducted its first successful launch of a solid propellant rocket.
South Korean officials said solid-fuel rockets shorten launch times, have simpler structures and are cheaper to develop and manufacture than liquid-fuel rockets.